By John Bonnette
ST. ALBANS – Guy Ellis had 23 saves and nine different Bobwhites found the score sheet as Bellows Free Academy opened the Division I Boys’ Hockey season with a convincing 5-0 victory over Colchester in St. Albans.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us but that was a very good start,” BFA Coach Toby Ducolon said. “We have a lot of people that it was either their first game or played very little last year so it is great for their confidence giving us a lot of good signs. It was a positive way to start.”
The Bobwhites, who were 3-for-7 on the power play also killed all six Laker power plays and showed a lot of heart as Bobwhite players sacrificed their bodies to block at least eight Colchester shots early in the game.[bar group=’86’]
“It is huge,” Ducolon said of the blocked shots. “We talked about it before the game and played a little game with it. We have good goal tending throughout the team but if we are willing to block eight or ten shots a game then we are going to be in business.”
Ellis echoed his coach’s words and praised his teammates for their willingness to jump in front of shots in helping BFA (1-0) to get off to a good start.
“I think this is a big win and it shows we have a chance this year,” Ellis said. “We are a hard working team and with the boys eating shots left and right that really helped and shows that we are committed and ready to make a run this year.”
BFA jumped up 1-0 just over five minutes into the first period with Colchester’s Bodey Towle in the box for tripping.[bar group=’86’]
As BFA worked the puck from the left side Dominic Liscinsky’s shot from the point went wide but Derek Nadeau scooped up the loose puck behind the net and found Matt Merrill in the left circle. Merrill then ripped a quick shot that beat Baker for a quick 1-0 lead just 5:28 into the first period.
“It was a very nice shot, he (Merrill) is a very good little player and he is very creative offensively,” Ducolon said. “He is one of our guys who we can finish, we hope, so definitely for a sophomore to start like this was huge.”
The Bobwhites would double the lead just over three minutes later. After a shot from the left point sailed all the way around the boards, Owen Benoit walked the puck along the blue line before firing a shot through the crowd. Sean Beauregard was able to redirect past Baker for his first of two goals in the game and a 2-0 lead with 2:44 left in the opening period.
“His (Beauregard) shot in front of the net is pretty good,” Ducolon said. “He has a nice feel for it and he scraps very hard and down low is a scrum is pretty good. He is a strong kid and he can find the back of the net as well.”[bar group=’86’]
The Bobwhites would start the second period on the powerplay and would capitalize quickly when Benoit picked up his first goal as a Bobwhite with 14:21 left in the period..
Owen Bonnette beat one Laker in the left corner before sliding the puck behind the net to Parker Gratton. Then as Gratton carried the puck into the right corner he found Benoit sneaking into the slot and he quickly drilled a shot over Baker’s blocker for a 3-0 BFA lead.[gm album=56]
“It was nice pass from down low, then you have Benoit move to an open area and he made it look easy,” Ducolon said. “That was a nice goal.”
The Colchester Coach, Andy Corran, said penalties and his team’s inability to stop BFA’s power play or score on their six power plays opportunities was huge for his team which was playing its first game in Division I after playing last year in Division II.
“That was a huge difference,” Corran said of BFA’s special teams. “When you don’t have the special teams going, it is sometimes hard to put the puck in the net and we didn’t take advantage of those penalties.[bar group=’86’]
“I think coming up to Division I, playing a really good team first thing and then going down two early, that sort of changes the nature of the game. We needed to get our feet wet a little longer and going down pretty quick with their power play goals changed the flow of the game and changed our confidence.”
The Bobwhites would put the game in the third as Derek Nadeau banged home a rebound off Colby Morin’s shot with 10:39 left for a 4-0 lead.
Then with just over five minutes left Liam Wood created a turnover in the neutral zone and raced down the right side before finding Beauregard alone in the slot. Beauregard then snuck a quick wrister five hold to finish the scoring.
BFA will look to build on the win when they travel to Rice Saturday night. The Green Knights are one of the favorites in Division I and Ducolon said he expects a huge test for his young squad.[bar group=’86’]
“Our biggest thing is just trying to correct some of our mistakes from tonight,” Ducolon said. “Rice is a good team and we will have our hands full for sure. We are not going to be ready, we are too young to really execute at this point in the season.
“However if we can take two days to clean up the stuff that we saw we need to work on from tonight’s game, that is all we can do at this point. Then we’ll work hard against Rice and see what happens. We are looking forward to a good test and it will be a lot of fun on Saturday.
“We still don’t have any natural goal scorers however when we throw five behind the net with the younger guys it is a pretty good sign.”[bar group=’86’]